28 November 2008

Bike Friday is Triptophan-tastic

Bike log, DAY 105 (Commute Day 69)

Well, I've successfully navigated the quarter turn of my year of car-free commuting. We've been having a relatively dry autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, but have had a dose of wet weather this month.

My biggest impediment of late has been a back ailment. I've slogged through the last two weeks, but it makes it a little difficult to find the inspiration some mornings. Feels like I'm coming out of it now though.

This month I received a very nice surprise from the good folks at Cycle Tote. My very own trailer donated by the company in support of my effort to abandon the car for a year. I came home from work to find a big package on the front porch. They, like New Belgium and Black Sheep, are a company based in Fort Collins. I will have to plan a touring trip with the family. Tallulah keeps asking me to get her a bike seat, and I have promised I would. Any suggestions? The Burly trailer she currently rides in is getting a little cumbersome as Ike has moved on to a bike extension set up.

My thanks to everyone who has encouraged me over the last 3 1/2 months. Hard to believe that I'm almost one-third of the way through.

Happy Cycling,


21 November 2008

Tell Metro Where to Put It

Where to put $21 million worth of transportation funds, that is. Metro is currently seeking input as to which projects to greenlight with Regional Flexible Funding dollars. From the Bicycle Transportation Alliance blog:

The process by which Metro allocates federal dollars for bicycle, pedestrian, transit and freight projects began last month. Metro has narrowed down the list of possible projects to $58 million worth - but there's only $21 million to spend!

But more specifically tell them how to spend, or rather why they should, the $2.1 million required for the Twenties Bikeway proposal. The deadline for comment is December 1. From the Metro website:

The Twenties Bikeway is a proposed bicycle facility running north-to-south parallel to the Interstate 5 and Highway 99E Regional Mobility Corridors. The Twenties Bikeway is a 9.2-mile corridor, of which 2.3 miles currently exist as bicycle lanes. Of the remaining 6.9 miles, 5.5 miles are to be developed with bicycle boulevard treatments and 1.4 miles are to be striped with bicycle lanes. Route is on NE 27th from Lombard to Ainsworth, NE 29th from Ainsworth to Knott, NE 28th from Knott to SE Madison, SE 27th from Madison to Stephens, SE 26th from Stephens to existing lanes south of Woodward. Project also adds improvements on SE 27th, Crystal Springs Boulevard and SE 44th from Bybee to Harney Drive.
This will fill a direly needed link in the network of dedicated bike passages in the heart of eastside, residential Portland. Remarkably, "Bike City U.S.A." has no dedicated north-south corridor for bike traffic from the Eastside Esplanade all the way to the I-205 bike path (which has been frequently closed in sections over the last year for construction of the new MAX line).

Don't believe it. Check it out for yourselves:

This map is produced by the Portland Office of Transportation. Similar to Metro's famous Bike There! maps, the purple and blue lines are multi-use pathways and bike lane striped roads respectively.

I'm often flummoxed as I look at these maps and try to figure out how to head out to neighborhood street festivals and the like with the family in tow during summer. My wife likes to feel safe in local traffic on a bicycle, especially with our young children in the bike trailer and tag-along bike extension. I'd even like to go to the grocery store on the bikes with the whole family so we could totally abandon the car on the weekends, but traffic on 28th over I-84 can be kind of treacherous. The Banfield is really the concrete river of Bridgetown that channels traffic north-south to certain corridors in the same way that the Williamette does East-West.

So please, if you live in the area and feel likewise, or if you support the example the city sets for the rest of the country, take this opportunity to address a shortfall of Portland's otherwise deserved bike friendly reputation.

Click here to comment in favor of the Twenties Bikeway.

19 November 2008

Welcome Carlitos Gillette

It's been a while. There were a couple of Ridden's windows knocked out and some graffiti tags on the west side of the building. Inside there was a pair of adult diapers and a full palette of indoor soccer balls. Also, bonobo feces and a Lance Crackers peanut butter-and-malt plastic wrapping.

Now this isn't about pointing fingers or asking anyone for money. But there needs to be a certain amount of recognition as to the level of commitment an operation like this entails. For just the price of a cup of coffee, a scone and a King-size Charleston Chew a day, you could finance both monkeys and typewriters via a low-risk annuity fund that in twenty years would produce more replica diplomas than you'd know what to do with.

Look, I'm not suggesting you run out and quit your job, leave your family and get subdermal gill vents. That's so 2012. What you want to do is draft a strongly worded letter wherein you politely suggest to your maker a physiological impossibility. I'm just saying.

Whoa, settle. The 80s references were fun but let's get real. Everyday's not sunshine and jerk chicken. Nor is it clacker balls and mentos...or even Wacky Wall Walkers. So screw your head on right and get your ass back in there! What you do with your elbows, kneecaps and phalangeal is your own business and not appropriate discourse in this forum.

13 November 2008

My Telecommuting Nemesis

So about two years ago, I enrolled in Midtown Atlanta's Commuter Rewards program, which dishes out fabulous cash and prizes (aka $10 gift cards) to commuters who keep a log of their clean commutes online each week. At the end of the month, they send out an e-mail with a list of winners and top achievers.

Imagine my chagrin to see that this month's top clean air "commuter" is a dude who logged "112 telework trips in a 90 day period." This begs the question: How does a person telecommute more than once a day?

Adding insult to injury is the inherent lack of effort involved in "telecommuting," especially when compared to the mortal peril of riding a bike to work in downtown Atlanta. I picture this person reading his e-mails in a cozy, softly lit breakfast nook, ripping into a pepperoni hot pocket while I dodge right-turning Escalades and have kids on the sidewalk throw old Reeboks at my face.